The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, the highly acclaimed choir of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, performs in front of an interfaith audience at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion on Sunday, Feb. 25. The Tabernacle Choir is in the Philippines for the first time as part of its “Hope” world tour. (Photo by Josh Nikkolai S. Bravo/ The Varsitarian)

THE GLOBALLY acclaimed The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints treated an interfaith crowd at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion to a night of hymns and songs of hope in the “Himig ng Pag-Asa” concert on Feb. 25.

Before the concert, the University hosted a dinner at the Grand Ballroom of the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building, where leaders and members of different faiths were welcomed.

Religious leaders take a picture together at the Grand Ballroom of the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building before the concert.

The Tabernacle Choir kicked off its performance with hymns of praise arranged by  musical director Mark Wilberg: “Praise to the Lord, The Almighty,” “In Hymns of Praise” and “Awake and Arise, All Ye Children of Light.”

The concert included a segment of Alleluias, followed by renditions of the Sephardic song “Ah, El Novio No Quere Dinero!” and the Nigerian carol “Betelehemu.”

The choir then performed a series of American classics including “Music Everywhere,” “Pilgrim Song,” “My God is So High” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Three young individuals from different faith backgrounds shared their testimonies to complement the choir’s performance of “Meditation,” “The Prayer” from Quest for Camelot, and “A Child’s Prayer.”

The concert then transitioned into a chapter of hopeful religious songs, featuring the choir’s performances of Church of Jesus Christ hymns “I Believe in Christ” and “The Spirit of God.”

Before concluding, the choir surprised the audience with a performance of the traditional Filipino folk song “Bahay Kubo,” encouraging the thousands in attendance to sing along.

The concert ended with the choir delivering a solemn epilogue performance of “God Be with You Till We Meet Again.”

The choir staged the show before embarking on its two-day concert that will feature Broadway actress Lea Salonga as musical guest at the Mall of Asia Arena on Feb. 27 and 28.

The concert featured 360 vocalists, including Leo Marcelo, the sole Filipino member of the choir, as well as 70 instrumentalists. It highlighted the choir’s connection to the Philippines, with approximately half of the choir and orchestra members having ties to the country in some capacity.

“It was so uplifting,” Music Dean Antonio Africa told the Varsitarian after the concert. “I didn’t expect it to be like this. The crowd, our brothers from other faiths, I can’t say anything except it was truly a musical experience.”

Music Dean Antonio Africa delivers a message ahead of the concert.

Among the religious leaders who attended the event were Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula, Elder Neil Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Fr. Roy Bellen, director of the Archdiocese of Manila’s Office of Communications.

Before the concert, choirs and administrators from the Conservatory of Music had a meeting with Wilberg.

“Himig ng Pag-Asa” served as the Philippine leg of the Tabernacle Choir’s world tour, which is under the theme, “Hope.”


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